History & Culture

The fossils, rocks, hills, and valleys that make up Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument reveal to us an ancient story of redwood forests, volcanic eruptions, and a climate much different than today. In addition to a rich ancient history, the Florissant valley also contains the stories of prehistoric hunting and gathering Paleo-Indians, the Ute and Jicarilla Apache peoples, the travels of a pioneer nation, and of early scientists making their way through discovery into a different time.

panoramic view of green grassy valley with hills and mountains in distance
View of the Florissant valley from the overlook on the Geologic Trail

Deep, Enduring Connections to the Land

Florissant Fossil Beds acknowledges the peoples who are traditionally assocated with this landscape:
Southern Ute Indian Tribe
Jicarilla Apache Nation
Ute Mountain Ute Tribe
Navajo Nation
Assiniboine & Sioux Tribe
Northern Cheyenne
Ohkay Owingeh
Pueblo of Acoma
Pueblo of Cochiti
Pueblo of Sand Ildefonso
Pueblo of Santa Clara
Pueblo of Taos
White Mesa Ute
Zuni Tribe
Arapaho of the Wind River Reservation
Ute Tribe Uintah and Ouray Reservations


People have visited what is now Florissant Fossil Beds for over 8,000 years and perhaps as long ago as 10,000 years. Over time, many different groups of people have been here including Native Americans, settlers, scientists, and tourists.

One of the most well preserved historic structures is the 1878 Hornbek Homestead. Take a virtual tour of the homestead on this page.

Florissant Fossil Beds' history spans almost a billion years! It all began with the emplacement of the Pikes Peak granite and the history runs all the way to the moment you arrive!

Last updated: January 23, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 185
Florissant, CO 80816


(719) 748-3253

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